Wendy Salazar, age 13, is the lead singer for Jehovah Yireh, the album-producing worship team at Dios Proveedor Student Center (ES-752) in Chalchuapa, El Salvador. Through the group, Wendy, who also plays guitar, is fulfilling her dream of becoming a professional Christian singer.
Wendy's shiny black hair, bronzed complexion and sparkling earrings set off her solid gold smile. Her musical talent is solid gold as well.
A guitar player and lead singer for Jehovah Yireh, the worship team at Dios Proveedor Student Center (ES-752), the 13-year-old travels to numerous evangelistic and musical events across El Salvador. The worship team's recently produced album is already receiving airplay on the country's most popular Christian radio station.
Already a platinum witness for Christ, the young teenager is fulfilling her dream to become a professional Christian music artist. Yet Wendy's success did not come without sacrifice. This teenager, like many impoverished Salvadoran children, has weathered the pain of rejection, loneliness and abuse.
Conceived out of wedlock, Wendy was an "unwanted pregnancy." When she was just a toddler, Wendy's mom abandoned her and fled to the United States. Her father has acknowledged that she is his daughter, but he has never supported her. Despite their poverty, her grandparents, Elbia and Carlos Ceron, decided to care for the little girl.
Though Carlos was an atheist who protested against the spread of the gospel in Chalchuapa, he agreed to enroll Wendy in the Compassion-assisted Dios Proveedor Student Center because of the resources sponsorship provided. "It (the project) was quite a change from my grandparent's home," recalls the 13-year-old. "I was showered with love and Jesus' teachings were openly taught."
When she got older, Wendy began attending the center's musical vocational training program, from which Jehovah Yireh was born. Immediately, Carlos began verbally abusing his granddaughter, threatening to throw her into their oven.
"Singing is my way of saying, 'God is great.' I couldn't understand why my grandfather didn't approve of me singing," says Wendy, tears washing her smooth, brown cheeks as she recalls the incident.
Still, Wendy's gift for singing and playing the guitar finally persuaded her grandfather to stop his verbal abuse, reports Rony Mendez, Wendy's project director. "He is not a Christian yet, but he has changed," Rony adds. "Last December Carlos invited my wife and me to dinner at his home to show his appreciation for Compassion."
Wendy hasn't given up on Carlos either. She acknowledges that he is still an angry person. "But I know he has come to some of the worship services in secret. He's complained that we play too loud," she adds, flashing her golden smile.
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